4 MAY 1895, Page 1


THERE is some danger, though probably not much, that the situation in the Far East may suddenly become acute. The idea is that the French Government, pressed by the 'Opposition and by the necessities of the war in Madagascar, will, at the eleventh hour, retreat from its position in reference to Japan, and that the German Emperor, seizing his oppor- tunity, may offer the Czar the active assistance of his fleet. The Czar, it is believed, may be greatly tempted by the offer. He was, as Cesarewitch, made President of the Trans-Siberian Railway ; he has travelled slowly through Siberia, and he has formed a strong opinion as to the value of his dominion in Eastern Asia, if only he can reach a port entirely free from ice. His amour-propre is concerned in carrying out this policy, with which he is personally identified, and, rather than abandon it, or even delay it, he may be willing to run serious risks and make a great change in his attitude towards Germany and France. In this event Japan will be seriously threatened by two fleets, and actual war may break out within a limited time. We regard this result, however, as improbable, the advantage of delay to Russia being too obvious to be missed. It seems clear, however, that every nerve is being strained to prevent Japan from bidding Russia a clear defiance. She has, for example, been offered permission greatly to increase the indemnity—a bribe of twenty millions at China's expense— and some territorial advantages in Southern China which would not interfere with Russian projects. Japan, however, wants Port Arthur, and there is no evidence that China would agree to these modifications of the Treaty.